Overweight and obesity in Elementary School. Problem Solving Techniques

Ausarbeitung, 2015

13 Seiten

Marina H. (Autor:in)


Tackling Childhood Obesity and Overweight at Sparbrook Elementary School
I. Content
1. Problem definition ... 3
1.1 Background information and the extent of the problem... 3
1.2 The Role of Schools ... 3
1.3 Overweight and obesity at Sparbrook elementary school ... 4
2. Analysis of the problem ... 4
2.1 Fishbone Diagram ... 4
2.2 Check Sheet ... 6
2.3 Pareto Analysis ... 7
3. Proposal of appropriate Solutions ... 8
4. Implementation and Evaluation of the solution ... 9
4.1 Implementation ... 9
4.1.1 Gantt chart ... 10
4.2 Evaluation ... 11
4.2.1 Problem Definition Sheet ... 11
II. References

1. Problem definition
1.1 Background information and the extent of the problem
Overweight and obesity are determined as one of the biggest problems facing humankind
(Parkinson, 2015), not least because it can cause psychological and social problems as well as
severe health issues (Wechsler et al., 2004). Social and psychological problems include e.g. a
distorted body image, discrimination and poor self-esteem (Wechsler et al., 2004; Sharkey et
al., 2006), while physical illnesses include paediatric type 2 diabetes, hypertension,
cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis (Sharkey et al., 2006).
With regards to the national level, statistics show that the problem is also very topical
throughout the UK. According to Mikkelsen (2005), approximately 19% of children in the
UK are classified as being overweight and even 7% are classified as obese.
In order to measure overweight or obesity, the World Health Organisation proposes the Body
Mass Index. The Body Mass Index depicts a figure that puts an individuals weight in relation
to its height. According to the World Health Organisation, individuals are classified as being
overweight, if their BMI exceeds 25 and obese, if their BMI exceeds 30 (WHO, 2015).
1.2 The Role of Schools
Since childhood obesity is a multi-faceted problem and is influenced by many sectors of
society including e.g. families, health care providers, government, media and schools, it
cannot be solved by just one sector on its own. Indeed, collaboration of all sectors is needed
(Wechsler et al., 2014). However, this essay´s aim is to focus on intervention strategies on an
elementary school-based level. Schools play an essential role in the combat against and the
prevention of childhood obesity for several significant reasons. First of all, since children over
5 years of age are obliged to attend school throughout the UK, schools depict a captive
audience and therefore intervention strategies are able to reach a large population of children
(Sharkey et al., 2006). Secondly, at least one or two meals per day are consumed at school
(Verotti et al., 2014). Starting from the fact that primary schoolchildren attend school on five
of seven days a week, accumulated data shows that these children take between almost 24 per
cent and 48 per cent of their weekly meals at school. Last but not least, Verotti (2014) points
out that persistent obesity is often established before the age of 11. Wechsler supports these
findings by stating that children who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of becoming
overweight or obese in their adulthood (Wechsler et al., 2014). Thus, prevention measures

need to be addressed to children aged under 11. Therefore, elementary schools provide a
meaningful framework that is capable to address exactly this target group.
1.3 Overweight and obesity at Sparbrook elementary school
A recent survey of the World Health Organisation has examined the extent of the problem
within the context of elementary schoolchildren in the UK. Results have shown that
Sparbrook Elementary School is greatly affected by this problem: 24% of the children are
overweight and 9% are even obese. Comparing this data to national statistics of the UK, it
should be noted that the number of children who are overweight in Sparbrook elementary
school is significantly above the national average, while the number of children who are
obese is slightly above the national average. When the teaching staff became aware of the
results, they immediately decided that it was their responsibility to get involved and
counteract this trend.
2. Analysis of the problem
2.1 Fishbone Diagram
After agreeing to tackle the problem, the teaching staff decided to collaborate in order to find
out about possible causes within the school context that might contribute to the issue. To
break down all possible aspects of the multi-faceted problem, they decide to set up a fishbone
diagram. The result is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Fishbone diagram
The result shows that a great number of possible causes can be assigned to the 4 different
categories food choices at school, physical exercise, lack of healthcare education as well as
lack of parental involvement.
When taking a closer look at the food-choices category, it is striking that the canteen food is
dominated mostly by dense energy foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. The consumption
of food that contains these features contributes to the development of obesity (Seaman et al.,
2006). Furthermore, snacks and drinks such as chocolate bars and soft drinks that are offered
in vending machines confirm the overall picture of a lack of healthier food options. Some
teachers also report that some of the pupil's lunch boxes feature unhealthy meals. This
category cannot be examined in isolation, as the contents of the lunch boxes are chosen and
prepared by the children´s parents. A deeper look into the matter shows that the lunch box's
contents might be highly dependent on the parent´s time and financial resources. Having an
unemployment rate of 23.6% (Davis et al., 2011) and therefore being above Birmingham´s
average of 11,7% (ONS, 2015), some parents might merely not have other options than to buy
cheap, unhealthy food which they fill their children´s lunchboxes with. Other parents might
have busy working days and thus provide their children with ready-made lunchboxes items
such as crisps or chocolate bars.
The lack of healthcare education has been identified as another heading. This category
Ende der Leseprobe aus 13 Seiten


Overweight and obesity in Elementary School. Problem Solving Techniques
University of Ulster
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
1234 KB
Problem Solving Strategies, fictive case study, Tackling Overweight and Obesity, pareto analysis, gantt chart, fishbone diagram, Problem Solving Tools
Arbeit zitieren
Marina H. (Autor:in), 2015, Overweight and obesity in Elementary School. Problem Solving Techniques, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/383678


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